Blog 52 - Do You Suffer From Severe Heel Pain Can't Walk? Plantar Fasciitis At-Home & Podiatry Treatment Options

Blog 52 – Do You Suffer From Severe Heel Pain Can’t Walk? At-Home & Podiatry Treatment Options

Do You Suffer From Severe Heel Pain Can't Walk? Plantar Fasciitis At-Home & Podiatry Treatment Options

Are you struggling with severe heel pain that makes walking unbearable? You’re not alone, and there are steps you can take to find relief both at home and with a podiatrist’s help.

Simple remedies like icing, rest, and stretching might ease your discomfort, but knowing when to seek professional care is vital. Podiatrists offer advanced treatments that could be the key to your recovery.

Are you unsure about the most effective methods and when it’s appropriate to seek a specialist’s guidance? Let’s explore your options and find the best path to relief.

Common Causes of Heel Pain

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Plantar Fasciitis has a number of common risk factors - do you fit the category for any of these? Don't worry, your heel pain is very common and readily treatable.

Understanding the common causes of severe heel pain, such as plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinitis, heel spurs, heel bursitis, and nerve entrapment, is crucial for effectively addressing the issue:

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is one of the leading causes, characterised by inflammation of the thick ligament that connects your heel bone to your toes. This condition often results in sharp pain, especially with the first steps in the morning.

Achilles Tendonitis

Achilles tendinitis occurs when the Achilles tendon is overused or injured, causing severe pain at the back of your heel. It’s common among athletes and those who engage in repetitive physical activities.

Heel Spurs

Heel spurs are bony growths that develop on the heel bone. They are often linked to chronic plantar fasciitis or repetitive strain, causing stabbing pain with each step.

Heel Bursitis

Heel bursitis involves inflammation of the bursa, a small fluid-filled sac at the back of your heel, leading to pain and swelling.

Nerve Entrapment

Nerve entrapment, such as tarsal tunnel syndrome, happens when the nerves around your heel are compressed, resulting in sharp, burning pain. Understanding these causes can help you seek appropriate treatment and relief.

Home Remedies for Heel Pain

When you’re dealing with severe heel pain, there are several effective home remedies you can try to alleviate the discomfort. Applying ice and taking rest breaks can reduce inflammation, while stretching exercises help improve flexibility and relieve tension.

Additionally, wearing supportive footwear guarantees proper foot alignment and reduces strain on your heels.

Ice & Rest

For those suffering from severe heel pain, incorporating ice and rest into your daily routine can greatly reduce inflammation and provide much-needed relief. Ice therapy is a straightforward and effective method to alleviate pain and swelling. By applying an ice pack to the affected heel for 15-20 minutes several times a day, you can help numb the area, reduce blood flow, and decrease inflammation.

Resting your foot is equally important. Avoid activities that exacerbate the pain, such as prolonged standing or high-impact exercises. Giving your heel time to heal is vital for recovery.

Here’s a simple plan you can follow:

Combining these steps can expedite the healing process and improve mobility.

Stretching Exercises

Incorporating stretching exercises into your daily routine can greatly alleviate heel pain by targeting the plantar fascia and Achilles tendon. These exercises improve flexibility, reduce inflammation, and promote healing in the affected areas.

Calf Stretches

Start with calf stretches. Stand facing a wall, place your hands on it, and walk one foot back. Keep your heel on the ground and bend your front knee. 

Hold for 15–30 seconds, then switch legs. This stretch lengthens the calf muscles and reduces strain on the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia.

Here is a good tutorial on how to perform this calf stretch from Sharp Healthcare.

Towel Stretch

The towel stretch is also an effective exercise. Sit on the floor with your legs extended. Loop a towel around the ball of your foot and gently pull it toward you while keeping your knee straight. 

Hold for 15–30 seconds and switch feet. This stretch targets the plantar fascia directly, improving its flexibility.

Please check out this useful video tutorial from NHS Ayrshire & Arran (who doesn’t love a Scottish accent!)

Stair Stretch

Heel cord stretches, also known as stair stretches, involve standing on the edge of a step with your heels hanging off. 

Slowly lower your heels until you feel a stretch in your calves, and hold for 15–30 seconds.

Here is a clear demonstration of how to execute the heel pain stair stretch from EmergeOrtho: Blue Ridge Region, please check it out.

Regularly performing these exercises can enhance mobility, reduce pain, and help prevent future heel issues. Always consult a podiatrist before starting any new exercise routine to make certain it’s suitable for your condition.

Supportive Footwear

Choosing supportive footwear with cushioned soles and proper arch support can noticeably alleviate heel pain, enabling you to walk more comfortably and reduce strain on the plantar fascia. Properly fitting shoes help prevent excessive pronation and offer much-needed stability to your foot, reducing discomfort. Opting for footwear with features that specifically target heel pain relief is crucial.

Shoes with a firm heel counter and adequate shock absorption play a critical role in providing relief for severe heel pain. This design helps distribute pressure evenly across your foot, allowing for improved mobility.

Here’s a quick guide to selecting the right footwear:

Professional Podiatry Treatments

When you visit a podiatrist for severe heel pain, you’ll benefit from accurate diagnostic methods that pinpoint the exact cause of your discomfort. Your podiatrist will develop a personalised management plan tailored to your specific needs.

Advanced treatment techniques, such as shock wave therapy and custom orthotics, are available to alleviate pain and improve your mobility.

Accurate Diagnostic Methods

To accurately diagnose the cause of your severe heel pain, professional podiatrists employ a combination of imaging studies, such as X-rays and MRIs, along with thorough physical examinations. These steps are essential for pinpointing the exact issue, whether it’s plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinopathy, or another condition.

Here’s how podiatrists guarantee an accurate diagnosis:

Imaging Studies
  • X-rays can reveal bone abnormalities or spurs.
  • MRIs provide detailed images of soft tissues, helping to identify ligament or tendon issues.
Physical Examination
  • Podiatrists will assess your foot’s range of motion.
  • They check for tenderness and evaluate your gait.
  • This hands-on approach helps in understanding how the pain affects your daily activities.
Medical History
  • Understanding your medical history, including previous injuries and lifestyle factors, allows podiatrists to identify potential contributing factors.
Daily Habits Review
  • Podiatrists will examine your daily habits – how long are you sitting each day? How often do you go for a walk?
  • Do you do any high impact activities?
  • What kind of footwear do you wear? Do you wear high heels often?
Personalised Management Plans

After identifying the exact cause of your heel pain through accurate diagnosis methods, podiatrists will develop personalised management plans tailored to your specific condition and needs. 

These plans are crafted to address the root cause of your pain, whether it’s plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinopathy, or another heel pain condition. Your personalised management plan will focus on reducing inflammation, improving mechanical alignment, and enhancing foot function. 

This might include a combination of custom orthotics to support your foot structure, specific exercises to strengthen and stretch affected muscles, and guidance on proper footwear. The goal is to relieve your pain and prevent future recurrences.

You’ll receive detailed instructions on how to manage your condition at home, ensuring you’re actively involved in your recovery. This approach empowers you to take control of your healing process.

An inflamed plantar fascia will stop you from doing the things you enjoy in life. Getting an accurate diagnosis is crucial to resolving the pain once and for all.

Regular follow-up appointments will allow your podiatrist to monitor your progress and make any necessary adjustments to your treatment plan. Podiatrists are committed to providing patient-focused care, ensuring you find relief and regain mobility. Your personalised management plan will be your roadmap to overcoming heel pain and resuming your daily activities.

Advanced Treatment Techniques

Professional podiatry treatments for severe heel pain, such as Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT), corticosteroid injections, and custom orthotics, offer specialised solutions tailored to your specific condition.

These treatments are designed to address the underlying causes of your pain, providing not just temporary relief but long-term healing and improvement.

Shockwave Therapy

This advanced technique uses sound waves to stimulate healing in damaged tissues. It’s particularly effective for conditions like plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendinopathy.

By promoting blood flow and cellular repair, Shockwave therapy can notably reduce pain and inflammation.

Custom Orthotics

Tailored to your foot’s unique shape and needs, custom orthotics provide support and alignment that can reduce heel stress.

By correcting biomechanical issues, orthotics can prevent further injury and promote natural healing processes.

Foot Strapping

Your podiatrist may employ a tailored foot strapping / taping technique to adjust the biomechanical compsure of your foot to reduce the pressure on your plantar fascia.

Professional foot strapping and taping techniques by an experienced podiatrst are an effective way of providing fast pain relief while and ongoing heel pain treatment plan is delivered.

Corticosteroid Injections

If your heel pain is due to inflammation, corticosteroid injections can provide rapid relief in severe cases – your podiatrist may refer you to your doctor to administer this treatment option.

These injections deliver powerful anti-inflammatory medication directly to the affected area, reducing swelling and pain almost instantly.

Off the Shelf Orthotics

A lot of people have good success relieving their heel pain with off the shelf orthotics.

These standard orthotics offer a good deal of support and cushioning which can be enough to stop someone from feeling heel pain. They are an option worth considering in your quest to get rid of heel pain once and for all.

Consulting with a podiatrist guarantees that you receive the most effective treatment plan, specifically designed for your condition, helping you get back on your feet with confidence.

Choosing the Right Footwear

Selecting the appropriate footwear is crucial to managing severe heel pain and promoting proper foot health. When choosing shoes, focus on finding options with excellent arch support and ample cushioning to alleviate pressure on your heels. Brands like Hoka, Asics, Brooks, and New Balance are renowned for their supportive designs and can make a significant difference in your comfort levels.

Avoid high heels, flat shoes, and worn-out sneakers, as these can exacerbate heel pain. High heels shift your body weight forward, increasing strain on your heels, while flat shoes and worn-out sneakers offer little to no support, worsening your condition. 

We recommend Hoka sneakers at our clinic for patients suffering with heel pain.

Instead, opt for footwear that promotes proper alignment and distributes your weight evenly. Custom orthotic inserts can also be a valuable addition to your footwear. These inserts provide personalised support and correct alignment issues, which can relieve pain and prevent further complications.

It’s important to consult with a podiatrist to get recommendations tailored to your specific condition. They can help you choose the best shoes and orthotics to effectively manage your heel pain.

When Should I See a Podiatrist?

If your severe heel pain is stopping you from walking, it’s vital to see a podiatrist without delay. Podiatrists are experts in diagnosing and treating foot and ankle conditions, including debilitating heel pain.

Ignoring the pain or delaying treatment can lead to worsening symptoms and potential complications, making timely intervention indispensable.
When you visit a podiatrist, they’ll perform a thorough evaluation to identify the exact cause of your pain. 

This could include conditions like plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendinopathy, or heel spurs. They can develop a tailored treatment plan based on your specific needs by pinpointing the underlying issue.Here are three key reasons to see a podiatrist for severe heel pain:

Seeking professional help ensures you get back on your feet with the right treatment and care.

In Closing...

Imagine your heel pain as a stubborn lock, preventing you from walking freely. Home remedies like ice and stretches are your keys to temporary relief, but for a long-term solution, a podiatrist holds the master key.

With advanced treatments and personalised care, they can open a pain-free future for you. Don’t let severe heel pain keep you grounded; take the first step towards healing and consult a podiatrist today.

If you want the right professional advice on how to treat your heel pain, we currently have a limited offer running to help you out. For just $79 (usually valued at $189), book in online for our Complete Heel Pain Assessment & Treatment Consultation will get:

  • Complete In-Depth Heel Pain Examination
  • Review of Footwear & Personal Habit Diagnosis
  • Treadmill Walking Gait Analysis & Video Assessment
  • Complete Foot & Ankle Structural Diagnosis
  • Effective Heel Pain Treatment Plan To Get You Walking Pain Free
  • Peace of Mind You Know What Is Causing Your Heel Pain & How To Fix It
Check out our eBook below for further details on this special offer as well as other tips and techniques you can try at home to manage your plantar

Heel Pain & Plantar Fasciitis

Understand what causes your heel pain and what you can do to get rid of it once and for all. Find out what treatments can get you back to walking pain free so you can enjoy living an active life again!

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Bellevue Podiatry

Bellevue Podiatry has been serving the people of Rosanna and its surrounding suburbs for over 10 years. We have the experienced and education to effectively treat any lower limb condition or injury that requires expert podiatry care.

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